FIRST SERGEANT PASCAL POOLAW WAS LIKE A FATHER OR BIG BROTHER TO THOSE WHO SERVED WITH HIM. THERE WAS NEVER ANY CONFUSION AS TO WHO WAS IN CHARGE. THIS HERO, A FULL BLOODED KIOWA, DIED WITH HIS BOOTS ON AND WILL ALWAYS BE A BRAVE SOLDIER TO EVERYONE WHO KNEW HIM. MAY HE FOREVER REST IN PEACE.
The most decorated Native American Indian in US history. He was a full blooded Kiowa Indian, son of Ralph Poolaw Sr and grandson of "Kiowa George" Poolaw, who served in the All Indian Cavalry Troop 1 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He joined the Army August 27, 1942 and served in three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He received a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant in the Korean War but later relinquished his commission. He is one of the few men who ever wore the Combat Infantry Badge with 2 stars. He retired from the US Army in 1962 but reenlisted a few years later to serve in Vietnam. His awards include the Combat Infantry Badge with 2 stars, the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star with a V device and 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with a V device and 2 Oak Leaf Cluster2 and the Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. His was married to Irene Chalepah, of Apache lineage, on March 15, 1940. They had 4 sons, all of who served in the US Army, 3 of which served in Vietnam. Poolaw Hall at Fort Sill, Oklahoma is named in his honor and contains an exhibit dedicated to this American Indian soldier. He was also inducted into the American Indian Hall of Fame in Anadarko, Oklahoma. The citation for his first Silver Star, which was earned during World War II, reads as follows; The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for gallantry in action against the enemy while serving with Company M, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, near Recogne, Belgium, on 8 September 1944. While attacking in support of a rifle company, Sergeant Poolaw displaced his machine gun squad forward across an open field under heavy mortar and small arms fire in such a manner as to effect a minimum number of casualties among his squad. After reaching his new position, Sergeant Poolaw saw the enemy advance in a strong counterattack. Standing unflinchingly in the face of withering machine gun fire for five minutes, he hurled hand grenades until the enemy force sustained numerous casualties and was dispersed. Due to Sergeant Poolaw's actions, many of his comrades' lives were saved and the company was able to continue the attack and capture strongly defended enemy positions. Sergeant Poolaw's display of courage, aggressive spirit and complete disregard for personal safety are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. The citation for his second Silver Star, earned in Korea, is as follows; The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Sergeant First Class Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On 19 September 1950 when the company attack on an enemy position was halted by stiff enemy resistance, Sergeant First Class Poolaw volunteered to lead his squad in an assault. Courageously leading his men in a charge up the slope to penetrate the enemy perimeter and engage the numerically superior enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat, Sergeant First Class Poolaw inspired his men to hold their position until the remainder of the company was able to seize the objective. Sergeant First Class Poolaw's outstanding leadership reflects great credit upon himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the American Soldier. The citation for his 3rd Silver Star, also earned in Korea, is as follows; The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star to Master Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On 4 April 1951 near Chongong-ni, Korea, while attacking strong hostile positions, one squad of Master Sergeant Poolaw's platoon was immobilized by a devastating automatic weapons and mortar barrage. Exposing himself to the deadly fire, he slowly advanced across open terrain, firing his rifle as he progressed. By deliberately diverting the attention of the foe to himself, he enabled his men to maneuver to more advantageous positions. Master Sergeant Poolaw's valorous actions were instrumental in the fulfillment of the unit mission and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the American Soldier. The citation for his 4th Silver Star, awarded posthumously for action in Vietnam, is as follows; The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for gallantry in action against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on 7 November 1967, while serving with Company C, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. On this date, during Operation SHENANDOAH II, First Sergeant Poolaw was accompanying his unit on a two-company search and destroy mission near Loc Ninh. As the patrol was moving through a rubber plantation, they were subjected to sniper fire. Within minutes, the area was raked with intensive claymore mine, rocket, small arms, and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior Viet Cong force. First Sergeant Poolaw unhesitatingly ran to the lead squad which was receiving the brunt of the enemy fire. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he exposed himself to assist in deploying the men and establishing an effective base of fire. Although wounded, he continued to move about the area encouraging his men and pulling casualties to cover. He was assisting a wounded man to safety when he was mortally wounded by Viet Cong fire. His dynamic leadership and exemplary courage contributed significantly to the successful deployment of the lead squad and undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. First Sergeant Poolaw's unquestionable valor in close combat against numerically superior hostile forces is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army. It should be noted that in the ferocious fighting at the Battle of Loc Ninh where he earned his 4th Silver Star and 3rd Purple Heart, it also resulted in the awards of 1 Medal of Honor, 2 Distinguished Service Crosses and one other Silver Star. 14 other US Army soldiers also lost their lives in that engagement. In wife Irene's eulogy at his funeral she said, "He has followed the trail of the great chiefs. His people hold him in honor and highest esteem. He has given his life for the people and the country he loved so much." (bio by: Robert Fowler)